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Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Malpractice
Q: What is medical malpractice?When a person fails to use ordinary care in driving a car and runs a red light causing an accident in an intersection, that driver commits ordinary negligence.
When a health care provider fails to use ordinary care in treating or making medical decisions for a patient, that health care provider runs a medical "red light" and commits medical negligence (medical malpractice). Health care providers, like drivers, can be held accountable in a court of law for their negligence.
Q: What is a health care provider?The term "health care provider" generally includes physicians, hospitals, registered nurses, nursing homes, dentists, podiatrists and pharmacists.
Q: How do I know whether my health care provider committed negligence?Most people have at least some idea of what they think the health care provider did, or failed to do, that caused the injury or damage to the patient. However, your idea of what went wrong is only the starting point. Determining whether a health care provider actually failed to use ordinary care in treating or making medical decisions for a patient always requires the testimony of an expert in the field, usually a doctor. The expert must review the medical records and be willing to testify in court against the negligent health care provider. Actually, in most medical negligence cases multiple experts from different medical disciplines must testify.
Q: How much does it cost to pursue a medical negligence case?Typically, it takes from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 just to obtain all of the pertinent medical records and have them reviewed by the initial medical experts. Pursuing a medical malpractice case through completion usually requires $50,000.00 to $100,000.00, or more.
Q: Who pays for the expenses?Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. accepts medical malpractice and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis. Therefore, we pay all case expenses up front and do not require our clients to repay us, unless the case results in settlement or verdict. If the case does not result in settlement or verdict (if we lose), you do not owe us anything. For a complete explanation of this firm's attorneys' fees in a contingent fee case, please see "Fee Policies" under the "About Us" section on this site.
Q: If I want to proceed with Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P., whats next?We are very selective in accepting new medical negligence cases. Additionally, since medical negligence cases are usually complex, time consuming and expensive to pursue, we only handle a few at a time.
The first step in possibly accepting your case is for you to call
John Greco for a brief telephone conference. Should you and Mr. Greco
decide that you are comfortable with one another (and that the situation
warrants additional discussion), the next step would be to schedule
an appointment to meet face to face. You will not be required to go
through a screening process by our office staff prior to meeting with
attorneys. Rather, you will meet with attorney John Greco from the
very first visit. You should bring with you any medical records, autopsy
reports, x-rays, scans, pictures, notes, diaries or other information
you may have already obtained.
Should you and the attorney decide that you are still comfortable
with one another (and that the situation needs further investigation),
the attorney may suggest a limited representation to allow the law
firm authorization to obtain and review additional medical records
on the victim of medical negligence.
After the initial review process has been completed, you will
be asked to again meet with Mr. Greco to decide whether to proceed.
Should the attorneys agree to accept your case and you agree to the
terms regarding retaining the attorney, you will be asked to sign
an attorney/client representation agreement authorizing Williams,
Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. to proceed with your case.
At this point, Mr. Greco will conduct medical research and, if
necessary, consult with various medical specialists regarding the
individual nuances of each case in order to prepare the case for litigation.
Often, Mr. Greco will spend hundreds of hours reviewing the applicable
records and conducting medical research prior to even filing a new
medical negligence lawsuit. Only after the records have been thoroughly
examined and the appropriate medical expert witnesses have agreed
that a lawsuit is warranted, will we file a suit on your behalf.
Q: How long will it take to resolve my case?Bringing a medical malpractice to completion usually requires 18 to 24 months, depending on the docket of the court your case is assigned to.
Q: What if the firm does not accept my case?
Due to the enormous amount of attorney time and expense involved in
litigating medical negligence cases, Mr. Greco is very selective in
accepting new clients. Should your individual case not be accepted,
we encourage you to immediately seek other attorneys for possible
representation. In this regard, please be aware that the law allows
only a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit and exercise
diligence in having the responsible parties served with process. Failure
to file a lawsuit within the applicable limitations period can and
usually does prevent a claimant from thereafter filing a suit.
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